People often rely on digital means to find solutions to their problems. This applies to every industry, but to some more than others. For example, one in 10 Americans use social media to find information regarding healthcare, and 66% use the internet to research specific medical issues.
Although many people use the internet to research the challenges they face, a majority of them do not find online advertisements relevant, which is a missed opportunity for marketers. In order to better reach these potential online clients, industries are turning to inbound marketing techniques to find leads.
Inbound Marketing Explained
For years, outbound marketing was the dominant way to find leads who turned into customers. Outbound marketing involves the process of chasing down potential clients. This included cold call techniques and direct sales pitches.
In contrast, inbound marketing takes a more personal approach. Hubspot defines inbound methodology as ‘the method of growing your organization by building meaningful, lasting relationships with consumers, prospects, and customers. It’s about valuing and empowering these people to reach their goals at any stage in their journey with you.’
This approach is more popular with younger generations, who prioritize personalization and being treated individually, rather than as a number. It’s also a preferred marketing strategy in industries where personal relationships truly matter, such as within healthcare.
According to Bob McIntosh, the personalization of digital marketing as a whole is required. He said, ‘Simply presenting a broad-based digital ad or piece of content with mass appeal to a generalized audience now tends to be ineffective. The most successful businesses and marketing professionals understand that digital marketing works much better when personalized for the target audience.’
There are three ways to apply this inbound methodology: attract, engage, and delight.
Conversational marketing is an inbound marketing strategy that allows businesses to attract potential clients by interacting directly with them.
While live chat and chatbots are the first methods of conversational marketing that generally come to mind, any other tool that facilitates real-time conversations also applies. This includes the use of email, social media, and text messaging tools.
Conversational marketing is especially relevant to the healthcare industry. Health is a personal matter, and having the ability to communicate effectively is vital to potential patients. According to a 2019 study by Accenture, 69% of patients indicated that they were more likely to select a healthcare provider that communicated with them through email. Another survey by Redpoint Global revealed that almost half of respondents prefer digital communication with their healthcare providers.
Creating a personal connection through conversation humanizes marketing. Rather than pushing a product or service, marketers who use this dialogue-driven approach create a relationship with customers. And that relationship becomes a foundation for trust as connections transform into leads.
Engage is in this second step of the inbound marketing methodology. This is where lead generation comes into play. Once a company has attracted and interacted with a potential lead, sales become involved and work to engage the potential client by providing relevant information.
At this point, these individuals are pointed toward a call to action that will lead them to an offer. An offer may look like a landing page, an ebook, or a class that directly solves their personal needs. Once the potential client has provided their information using a form, they have officially become a lead.
Co-founders Bradley Rand Martin and Theo Nguyen created Client Connection Group to link dentists with new patients. They use a multi-platform approach that includes Google, Instagram, Tik Tok, and Facebook to turn potential clients into leads.
Nguyen said, ‘We create campaigns across multiple channels using pre-qualifying campaign workflows that walk potential patients through a funnel packed full of information exactly relevant to their needs. Once they’ve provided us with their information, we are able to strategically reach out over the next 60 days using text and email. We are careful to make sure the information stays relevant and applicable.’
While this example showcases how the healthcare industry is mastering inbound marketing, other industries can use this approach to generate their own leads. And once leads are generated, this strategy can help them follow through with their specific call to action and keep customers engaged along the way.
Keeping potential customers happy after they’ve interacted with your brand is a crucial part of the inbound methodology. Chatbots again become effective ways for former clients to stay in touch with you and build continual connections.
Interacting with former clients provides you the opportunity to issue surveys and ask questions that will allow you to gain more information on how to alter your lead generation flow to make it more applicable and effective. By responding to feedback, you demonstrate listening skills and a willingness to change, which is a significant way to delight former clients.
Amanda Brinkman, Chief Brand and Communications Officer at Deluxe, says, ‘Your main objective should be listening to your consumers — getting to know them better. It doesn’t cost you anything to listen, and the insights you gather can be invaluable.’
Aside from surveys and questionnaires, social media is a great way to hear the needs of former and current clients. They’ll often post complaints or praise, and both forms of feedback are extremely valuable. If your clients exist on a certain platform, you need to be there as well, whether it is Instagram, TikTok, or Snapchat.
Inbound marketing is a noteworthy approach for all industries. As personalization becomes a higher priority for consumers, inbound marketing will need to become a standard marketing strategy. Taking examples from industries that are already adapting to this change can put your company on track to adapt, but don’t wait too long to try this technique.